Online Technology and the Peace Movement: The Campaign Against the Invasion of Iraq in 2003
Australian Journal of Peace Studies, Vol. 2, 2007
19 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2007 Last revised: 16 Apr 2008
In February 2003, a month before the invasion of Iraq, peace and anti-war activists around the world organised mass demonstrations. A coordinated international demonstration against the invasion started on Valentine's Day in Melbourne, Australia, with between 100 000 and 250 000 people in attendance. Australia was one of the countries supporting the United States-led invasion. The Melbourne demonstration was followed by massive demonstrations in cities around the world over the weekend of 14 to 16 February 2003. As many as 10 million people are believed to have voted with their feet against an invasion of Iraq, in what is said to the be largest internationally coordinated demonstration by human beings in history.
This unprecedented achievement of hundreds, or probably thousands, of local peace groups working in synchronicity throughout the world gave a vision of the potential power social movements might have in the 21st century, including the ability to mobilise literally millions of people within only a few months.
This raised the research question of just how this outpouring of support was achieved. Given that we live in an epoch of mass access to communication technologies, it suggested that information and communication technologies (ICT) may have been an important part of achieving the public support the peace movement received. The use of ICTs in the peace movement in Australia has been selected as a case study to investigate this proposition.
The finding of this article is that there have been many constructive, innovative and successful uses of ICTs in the peace movement around Australia. The research also highlights many unrealised synergies among organisations investigated. Suggestions provided in the conclusion include that strength, endurance and creativity, as well as efficiency may be gained from a more organised approach to the peace movement at the national level and that ICT has a role in contributing to this.
Keywords: online, technology, peace, movement
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation